Strathclyde University is to grasp one of the more intractable issues facing schools, with the launch of what is billed as a "pioneering initiative" to equip primary teachers with IT skills.
The two-year project will be backed by pound;260,000 in funding from the Scottish Executive Education Department and hardware support from IBM. The Executive's involvement has enabled the project to adopt the snappy title of the "SEEDIT" laptop initiative, believed to be the largest in the UK.
The focus will be not just to expand teacher skills in the use of IT but to embed it in the postgraduate course for trainee primary teachers, as opposed to it being a separate component. They will be able to participate full-time, part-time or at a distance.
Nigel Kay, director of information strategy at Strathclyde, commented: "The idea is to 'seed' the teaching community with a consistently growing number of professionally taught and supported IT-literate teachers, so that ultimately the use of IT and IT skills will be integrated completely into the school system.
"IT shouldn't be an add-on and this approach needs to be widespread and long-term."
Lynda Keith, course director for the professional graduate diploma in education (primary), said each of the 330 postgraduate students would be able to buy an IBM laptop at a concessionary rate or borrow one.